Schools Expelling Michelle O’s Austere, Expensive Lunch Program

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Michelle Obama pushed hard to get the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK) passed by Congress in 2010. And it did pass. Who wants kids to be hungry?

The Act authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USAD) to revamp the nutritional criteria for public school lunches and expanded the free school lunch program. The USDA estimates it will cost $3.2 billion to completely implement the nutritional changes nationwide over a five-year span. The free lunch expansion increases the Federal government’s $11 billion annual allotment for lunch subsidies by more than $1 billion per year.

But as quickly as many public schools have begun adopting new standards that replace traditional menu offerings with things like “part of” a chicken patty on a little croissant and arugula pizza, they’ve often just as quickly abandoned the program.

Why? Because kids hate it, it’s too expensive for the schools, the lunches themselves cost more for paying students, and cafeterias are losing money as kids continue to resort to bringing lunch from home in order to stave off hunger and eat what they choose.

It was reported Tuesday that the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district in New York dropped the program after losing $100,000 implementing the new Federal menu, but it’s only the most recent district to have left Obama’s attempted food fiat in the dust. Schools in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Kansas — pretty much everywhere, in other words — are either ditching the program or wrestling with angry students and parents in an effort to stay the course.

As with all nanny programs, the 850 calorie-maximum school lunch scheme is fraught with hypocrisy.

“The voluminous menu that’s good enough for the federal bureaucrats’ cafeteria should be good enough for our children’s school lunchroom,” said Senator Tim Huselkamp (R-Kan.), an ardent HHFK opponent, in April. “If USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack thinks the federal government should dictate what local governments put on their school lunchroom menus, why isn’t he leading by example? Secretary Vilsack should impose his ‘Nutrition Nanny’ standards on the USDA buildings’ cafeteria menus before the USDA seizes control of lunchroom menus in 100,000 school districts.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • independent thinker

    ” Secretary Vilsack should impose his ‘Nutrition Nanny’ standards on the USDA buildings’ cafeteria menus before the USDA seizes control of lunchroom menus in 100,000 school districts.”
    I would add the Whitehouse kitchen should also use only the school standards in all their meals along with the congressional cafeterias and the cafeterias in all other federal buildings.

  • txbadonetoo

    Yes.. No more Kobe Beef and dessert at State Dinners.. Broccoli and lean white meat chicken only. When Barack and Michelle live by the ‘standards’ they want to impose on others (daily – not just during photo ops) then I might listen to them. Actually I’ll never have to worry about it as they splurge when the cameras aren’t around and they know that we know it.. hypocrites.

  • Phillipe Violette

    Let’em have some cake your highness

  • laura merrone

    Some of the schools I subbed at had “healthy alternative” snacks for the kids that were awful. Raw green beans, cactus fruit and other unappetizing stuff. They came with a little packet of no-fat Ranch dressing to try to improve the flavor a little. Most kids didn’t eat them and threw them away. Some brought their own snack from home. The school snacks were “free” but no real treat. Of course, the taxpayers paid for them so they weren’t really “free”.

  • To Tell The Truth

    The hypocrisy of these scumbags, Obozo and Mrs. Obozo,knows no limits.

  • Vigilant

    Mr. Bullard demonstrates the journalistic lack of depth so common to issues of this kind.

    All naïve eyes go to the federal government over things like this. The focus of sight is completely wrong. It’s not the feds who are screwing us, it is and always has been, THE STATES.

    NO ONE forces the states to adopt these programs. The same goes for Race to the Top and a host of federal programs concerning education and other areas. “Guidelines” do not become mandates unless and until a state opts in for the program.

    “In 2011, the National Governors Association criticized HHFK’s “short-term” and “inadequate” funding. Nothing has changed. In essence, the law imprints a federal hallmark: It taxes citizens more, then returns part of their money as long as they dance to the government’s tune to get it. When normal folks do that, we call it bribery.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/2/michelle-obamas-school-lunch-program-leaves-childr/

    DO NOT look to the federal government if you seek culpability. It’s your elected and appointed officials at state level who have accepted and continue to accept federal bribery.

    • Mike

      Vigilant you are a little off on this. The one thing you said right is

      *”In 2011, the National Governors Association criticized HHFK’s
      “short-term” and “inadequate” funding. Nothing has changed. In essence,
      the law imprints a federal hallmark: It taxes citizens more, then
      returns part of their money as long as they dance to the government’s
      tune to get it. When normal folks do that, we call it bribery.”*

      They do the same to the state governments. They take way more than they need and then offer some school funding as long as they play along. Most districts can’t afford to not except the funding because the feds take so much to begin with. It’s a well oiled machine. Taxation is control on every level uncluding both the states and the citizens.

  • Sam

    Congress should be ashamed of itself, of passing a “law” that leaves children hungry, just to please an America-hating a p e.

    • Phillip Maine

      Yes, they are blaming the parents and the school lunch program for something the electric company is doing to you. Dirty electricity, or electricity that does not conform to normal wave lengths is causing most of the obesity, and diabetes in the USA. Proven.

  • securityman

    vigilant, you are talking about states doing their own thing, but you are forgetting that the feds are the ones putting the guidelines out and we are paying for the schools to abide by them. if the feds stop the money to the state school then the state will be in a bind. or at least, that’s what they say.

    • Phillip Maine

      Only because we have state governmemts that will not say no and local sheriffs what will not enforce it. The local sheriff can tell the people with non-state authority to take a jump. They can even control the state DHHS home invasions.

      • Mike

        What if the school can’t afford to not except the funding? The Fed takes so much that a lot of states can’t survive unless the fed gives it back. Taxation is always the best way to control. If you don’t act like a perfect little citizen you don’t get *your* money back. Look at same sex marriage for a great example.

        • Phillip Maine

          In actuality the feds give 2 to 3 % of the monies then mandate the state make up the difference. Even the Federal Food for the Poor programs are mostly funded by the state. If you do not believe me, ask your doctor next time what percentage of his costs are covered and how hard it is to get the money. Again, if you just required that all ALL taxes be turned into the state then sent the Feds their due portion this could be remedied.

    • Vigilant

      securityman, you and Mike may have the cart before the horse. Education was always within the bailiwick of the states. Amendment 10 to the Constitution clearly left the federal government out of the business of telling the states to do ANYTHING with regards to how they managed/funded their programs.

      Some progressive charlatan over a half century ago, not satisfied with the states being able to operate (and to be left alone) under the 10th Amendment, devised a way to sidestep the Constitution and encroach on the states. They did this by passing federal legislation to offer grants and subsidies to the states IF, AND ONLY IF, the states accepted “Federal Guidelines.” The school lunch program is just one of many areas in which states have lost control over their education systems.

      Calling them “guidelines” is a joke. A guideline is just that, a recommendation. The catch is, don’t adhere to my guidelines and you lose your funding. It’s de facto bribery of state officials who don’t have to accept the program or the guidelines that come along with it, but who have always been too greedy to turn them down.

      This situation has become so entrenched in the mentality of school boards and unions that they came to depend on the grants for funding their budgets. Not only that, they took them for granted. When economic pressures forced the feds and the states to decrease these grants, school boards went crazy.

      They had been, for example, so confident in the continued receipt of this money that during the flush times they buckled to the unions and gave them cushy pension and health coverage plans that are so big as to comprise 75-80% of annual school budgets. And when the crunch came, guess who suffered. The teachers and administrators? No way. They cut into core programs, and laid off scores of unnecessary administrative types as well as low seniority types such as teacher assistants. The unions and retired teachers remain fat and happy.

      Once again, although the feds devised this nefarious scheme of bribery and dependence, it has always been, and remains, the fault of the states for ever buying into the loss of freedom and control over their schools. They could have, and SHOULD HAVE, just said “no.”

      • Duane

        Well said. This is the most definitive and precise answer to what has become of our schools. This is why charter schools and home schooling are so popular and will become even more so with this crazy crap that they teach in the schools. I would like to see the WEA in the state of Washington be held accountable and or decertified. This would decrease the cost of our education by a significant amount. Put the money by giving these kids and education not indoctrination.

  • securityman

    isn’t that what I just said. but you tell me , how many of the states are going to give up that money? we need to get the obummers out !1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest

    So this overweight, taxpayer supported, freedom-hating first lady is telling other people how to eat and feed their children? Ms. Obama needs to sit down, shut up, and go on a diet first, before telling anyone how to eat or feed their own children, especially when she is not doing so on her own dime.